SYRACUSE HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!
I also had scheduled the Syracuse Half Marathon which in my tired state I planned on having it serve more of a hard run then a fast peak performance. My father was in town to celebrate me making the National Snowshoe Team with my lovely girlfriend Ashlee. We all went out to eat the night before which was perfect. Central City Bar and Grill in Cortland has some of the best food and drink around and I love their Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip! I had some garlic parmesan boneless wings and we talked and had a great time. I also was able to sell my father a pair of Hoka One One Stinson Evos at the Finger Lakes Running Store and I have a feeling he will continue to love Hokas for quite some time. We all settled in for tomorrow's big day.
The next morning, I think we were all tired as we rolled out of bed and headed to Syracuse.
We arrived at the race venue with 30 minutes to spare, just enough time for myself to jog around a little. I then got my gear ready, put on my new CEP compression sleeves and off we went. The cold morning with temps in the mid 20's made for a day of just trying to find ways to warm-up. We went out the first mile in 5:16 and I wanted to run a little easier than that. I still kept pace with David of Saucony who was my pacing buddy and we hung together pretty well throughout. The pace still felt relaxed but the hills were already causing my hamstrings to tighten up. I have not run this fast in a while so my body was kind of going through culture shock. Every downhill, I hammered and made up ground. Every up-hill, I relaxed into a solid pace so that I could run the downhill hard. We were running at around a 5:20 average per mile up until about mile 5 where David made a move and separated from me. I just stayed relaxed and kept running my pace. At this moment, my hamstrings were really tight and it was hard to stride out properly. I had to slow. I chugged at 5:30-5:35 a mile or so for quite some time through the next few miles to hopefully regain my legs. I was tired and felt tired and did not have that pop in my step. It was ok because I was in 7th at the time and that was not a terrible place considering the Stotan Racing Team bringing a bunch of their guys. I had David in my sights as well as Chris Rauli I believe as a Stotan coach kept yelling for him throughout the race so I learned the name quickly. I chugged along the winding streets of Syracuse which was a well-designed course. We past through residential sections, a corporate center, a canal towpath of sorts right out of Venice and much more. The hills had razzed up my legs though my CEP compression sleeves really helped my calves out. I had great circulation with those and my calves never felt fatigued which was a nice feeling since normally they do get sore or tired. I went through halfway in 33 minutes or so and just focused on the people in front of me. Slowly, by mile 9, I regained some pop in my legs and now I could force a pace change from 5:35 down to 5:20. I accelerated forth and by the Venice section around mile 11, I caught Rauli and passed him. David was still in the distance and with the last 3 miles to go I was closing and fast. What seemed like a 45 second lead soon became about 10. I was right on David's shoulder or so lurking in the distance and was surprised at the strength I had at this moment. Then, within the last 800m, David pulled away again and I just brought it in. I placed 6th in a competitive race and had a great time. Yeah, my hamstrings have seen much better days, but the race was fun and I am glad to share this experience with my father. Of course trail running is where it is at because of how different the running is and how fun and scenic it can be. That is why if I ever decide on road races, I hope to find those races that are scenic and unique, often hilly and difficult because that has now become my strength. It was a fun event and now I am taking a month to work on school and my jobs and enjoy the beginnings of spring here as well as put in a solid training block for the trail running season. The first race I am officially running will be the Allegany 22k race in Salamanca, NY which runs through an amazing State Park section in Lower Western New York.
There I am in the bright Yellow heading uphill with the leaders
Snowshoe Nationals Start of Men's 10k (I am out of frame on the left)
Coming down the first big uphill
Photos courtesy of Pat Hendrick Photography:
Coming into the finish
All photos of my finish of the Syracuse Half.
Training as of late has been a long process. My hamstrings have been stretched to quite an extreme and I have to take it easy with them so that they can rejuvenate for a month-long training cycle before my first competitive trail race of the season. I hope to get in a nice series of runs and so far, I have been taking it easy though I have noticed my uphill efforts do not make the hamstrings worse, just steep uphills. I will have the chance to learn more about how my body will handle this recovery phase in the upcoming weeks.